Sunday, September 09, 2007

GCSEs for HEors around the Country

A scheme offering GCSE maths and English for home educated teens, looks to be one of the first useful things that LAs around the country have done for home educators. Of course, Dudley LA did get there first. We can only hope that more LAs follow this constructive example. Sheffield and the Royal College of Dean Colleges looked as if they were trying to be helpful, with an offer of an on-line English course, but costs for under 16 year olds are pretty exorbitant.

Of course there are loads of distance learning packages now available, Edexcel, Oxford Distance Learning College, Oxford Home Schooling, and the NEC to name but a few, but these are often also expensive, and involve the learner sorting out the exam centre and exam fees, which can prove very difficult. LAs could at least usefully sort out exam centre access.


Dani said...

Don't forget Little Arthur School, which seems like more reasonable value for money.

Of course, it's also possible to prepare for these exams without paying for a course - which would save money but doesn't solve that pesky exam centres problem.

Seems crazy that access to public exams is such a lottery - if the ptb are going to present these things as necessary for progress in education or work, they should at least make them accessible to everyone.

Wobblymoo said...

The great thing is that the schemes our LA are coming up with cost them nothing so they don't have any difficulties justifying them to the 'management'. It also shows there is no reason whatsoever that other LAs can't do this if people in their areas want it

Carlotta said...

Would love more reviews of Little Arthur. Do you know of anyone who has used it successfully, Dani?

Plus, suddenly gone completely blank as to your whereabouts Wobbly...could you mail me on if you have a mo?

Anonymous said...

We didn't find it hard to get an exam centre. It was just a matter of asking a local comprehensive. It was harder to have access to the latest and most relevant exam papers and marking schemes AND most importantly to find some one who would mark and submit the course work - an essential part of all GCSEs except for languages and RE.

With GCSEs at least one grade is due to understanding how marks are awarded and papers laid out. Two HE boys I helped with a French GCSE were shocked in the exam to discover that the marking system and other deteails had changed and only school teachers had had access to the new approach. It is possible, however, to buy past exam papers and marking schemes usually from the body awarding the GCSE.

The advantage of the LA scheme I im agine is that they will sort out course work marking.

Carlotta said...

yeah...GCSEs still look set to be a complete pain. I think IGSCEs therefore still seem to be the better option, as they usually have a way round the coursework, or practical stuff eg: biology IGCSE exam seems to involve a written paper about how you would do the practical rather than having to actually do it.

Duncan said...

GCSE = Useful? Since when?

Allie said...

Well, Duncan, very simply it is a swift passport into FE college A level courses - certainly round here. That's it really. There are many ways around FE and higher ed too, but if GCSE is a relatively easy way in for someone then they might well choose to take it.

My feeling is that I'm here to support my child in their choices. If they choose to do GCSEs then I'll support that. If they decide they're boring and not worth the effort then I'll support that too.